Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly



Twenty-plus years after the end of apartheid, the South African economy is starkly divided between so-called ‘first’ and ‘second’ economies. This common South African phraseology is a euphemism for ‘the rich’ (who do business in a certain way) and ‘the poor’ (who do business in a different way).

Given South Africa’s dire unemployment statistics, development and growth of successful SMEs are crucial in ensuring sustainable job creation. With a limited social welfare system, the onus is often placed on us (as individuals) to become self-sufficient entrepreneurs and founders of profitable and sustainable job-creating businesses.


Unfortunately, without the proper support structures, experience and information, many small businesses either close prematurely or do not grow beyond owner-manager status. This book aims to provide an easy-to-read and accessible blueprint for those of you who want to expand, change or begin your own business. 


Worryingly, much of the country’s SME activity is locked into a subsistence paradigm, where the business supports only the financial needs of its owner, and fails to contribute to economic growth meaningfully nor does it create new jobs.


One of the primary issues within the country’s SME sector is a simple lack of experience. Government policy makers, government SME development agencies and local large corporations have little on-the-ground experience of the daily reality of life as a South African SME entrepreneur. This is particularly true of the so-called second economy.


As a result, SME development programmes are often hopelessly out of context, and hinder, rather than help support the development of SME’s. 


Getting The Basics Right Is The Battle

Only 13% of SMEs Employ More Than 5 People (Source: SME South Africa)


Infograph by SME South Africa

It is a simple matter to register a business, open a business bank account and get a tax clearance certificate for your first tender application. However, it is a far more complicated mission to stay cash flow positive and compliant 5 years, or even three years down the line.



The A-Game Business Blueprint


The ‘A-Game Business Blueprint’ is a practical, step by step business development methodology, which guides entrepreneurs as they start, run and grow their businesses. It is an ecosystem made up of books, a series of workshops, an app, certified coaches and a community of entrepreneurs.


The Blueprint is an approach that provides entrepreneurs with insight into the wider theories of business. It also explores the importance of the relationship between the business and the individual’s personal life, while never straying too far from the practical realities of entrepreneurial business.


In South Africa, many SMEs are subsistence-based, scarcely meeting the income needs of their owners, providing few jobs to others, and thus contributing little to economic growth. A-Game Business Blueprint addresses the difficulties faced by both experienced and start-up entrepreneurs and provides down-to-earth solutions that ensure SME success.


The A-Game Business Blueprint is intended to be your go-to, practical, user-friendly business book. It provides a structured set of self-reinforcing steps that assists you in successfully improving your small-to-medium-sized enterprise (SME) performance. Unlike many other business-orientated guides, it is specifically tailored to the current South African economic environment.


A-Game Business Blueprint Methodology

At the highest level, the methodology addresses the marriage of the three primary elements of entrepreneurial business:


1. The stage of the business: where the business happens to be


2. The phase of the entrepreneur’s life: where he\she is as an individual doing business (their thoughts, dreams, reality, passions and illusions)


3. The actions you are taking: the literal things you are doing, right now, in your business and your life, in order to move the business forward.


To do this, it takes entrepreneurs through four clearly differentiated stages as follows:

STAGE 1: Grounding – Entrepreneurial Awareness

Who are you as an individual? What is your purpose, what are your values and passion in life?


Too often these questions are addressed much too late by entrepreneurs. This results in an attempt at commerce that is not properly rooted in the individual’s skills, value set and true personal aspiration. Learning to ask and answer relevant awareness questions at the early stage of business life is vital.

STAGE 2: Aim – The Business Concept Stage: Take Action


Right, so you have a business that’s been running for some time now. However, you are struggling to GROW. Why? Because you don’t really understand your own business yet.


You need to explore it from a variety of perspectives. You need to innovate your business model, test it and have others test it. You need to reinvent your business and develop a competitive strategy focused on High-GROWTH. And you need to execute it and see how the strategy takes shape in the real world.

STAGE 3: Market(ing) – The Advocate Stage: Commit


It’s time to claim a BIGGER share of the market, and it’s not going to be easy. You need to refine your brand philosophy, to develop a new approach to marketing, customer acquisition, and customer success built on the foundation of long-lasting value-based customer relationships.


This is a challenging, intense phase, and you need to be ready emotionally and practically. You also need to understand and implement the links to nurturing customers, wowing them as well as maximizing customer lifetime value.


STAGE 4: Expand – The Amplification Stage: Systematising the business


Your business is semi-established, and so at its most vulnerable. If you don’t systematise the key elements and processes, the business relies heavily on you, keeping you trapped in the business. This leaves the business at risk of getting toppled by the first challenging wind that sweeps by.


This stage has everything to do with your team and the critical business processes that’ll help systematize your business. Your challenge is to develop a systematised way of working that caters to the weaknesses and exploits the strengths of people from all walks of life including your external partners. This is the beginning of your exit strategy.



From garage geniuses to successful SME’s: The A-Game Business Blueprint is Your Playbook


Whatever your role in your company may be, the A-Game Business Blueprint can add insight and structure to your business. Thus, although my book is primarily aimed at entrepreneurs, owners and managers of already running small-to-medium businesses, it is, in addition, valuable to the first time, start-up entrepreneur. It is also an important read for business advisors and coaches.


The book ensures that your business is grounded in strongly conceptualised personal values and goals so that it is an extension of your passions and interests. This increases the probability of success in the market as well as with your customer – and personal satisfaction. As the title suggests, my book provides an action plan for achieving this desirable state of affairs – regardless of the specific nature of your business.


The blueprint is drawn: Now to decode it


While this article has discussed the overall goals of my book and its intent to help ordinary people build extraordinary businesses, future articles will delve more deeply into decoding the blueprint of building an A-Game business.


All the best, 


Before you go, click the button below to take your A-Game Business Score now to see how grounded your business is!

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